back to article eBay breaks bread with luxury goods firms

eBay is to pow-wow with luxury goods manufacturers which want the online tat bazaar to better police sales of fraudulent merchandise. The meeting, held in London on 28 July, brings together lawyers from eBay, along with representatives of luxury goods association the Walpole Group, which counts in its membership shoemaker Jimmy …


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  1. Nick Drew

    Choice of phrase?

    " is described as an attempt to forge an agreement between eBay and the representatives of luxury brands" - perhaps not the best form of words...

    In reality though, how is eBay supposed to police whether specific listings are for genuine or fake items, given that the items themselves change hands without ever passing through eBay's hands? Surely it's simply a marketplace, and it's only the fact that this marketplace happens to be a company with large coffers that's prompted the label houses to pursue these legal cases...

  2. Steven Hunter

    A real quandary this one...

    I mean which huge multinational corporation am I supposed to feel sorry for?

  3. Dave

    RE: Choice of phrase?

    Think you hit the nail on the head....If ebay have to police this then "trade-it" / newspapers should police there for sale sections? Car boot sales should be watched? Market stalls which sell a HUGE amount of forged goods should be policed better?

    How on earth these companies expect ebay to police forged goods I dont know? It's not as if the seller puts on the description that they are forged items and without them passing through ebays hands there is no way they can tell, unless they hire thousands of people to examine EVERY picture on ebay and verify it is a genuine item, and then the items without pictures....well of course they'll have to be posted to ebay to be checked

  4. Gordon Pryra

    The "luxury brands" may have had a point

    The "luxury brands" may have had a point


    Long ago

    When their goods were "luxury brands"

    Now they are just shit, re-branded Chinese, crap

    They can take a running jump

    Many "Rip-offs" are of a better quality than the shit that is palmed off as "designer"

  5. Stef

    Insert title here

    You ask "how is ebay supposed to police" and raise a good question.

    If Ebay were a pub, and customers were caught selling pirate DVDs to other customers on the premises, they the pub would be in trouble with the law for 'allowing' it to happen under their roof.

    In the current setup we have Man A selling a handbag to Man B. Man A says it is the real thing.

    Man B receives the bag, and discovers it is fake, and complains to Ebay. Ebay refunds the money and bans the account of Man A (eventually).

    (I realise this is the perfect world example).

    So, how have the handbag manufactures lost out in this state of affairs?

    They will surely only lose out when the buyer does not know that the bag is fake. And if they do not know, then how are these figures tracked?

    Do they do it like the music industry does?

    "Sales of the new Uzi Lover CD by "Herman The Tosser" are $50,000 less than expected. It must be because people are downloading it instead of buying it. I'm sure it has nothing to do with it being rubbish."

  6. Edwin


    I think you're missing the point here.

    Man B wants said luxury item but isn't willing/able to pay for the real thing and so is happy to pay less for a fake.

    It's a bit like software/film/music downloads:

    "I want product X but am unhappy with what the manufacturer is asking for it. Therefore, I am justified in pinching a (cheap) copy"

    Yes, there are 'innocent' people who honestly believed they were going to get a Vuitton handbag, but I believe they're the vast minority.

    Flames, but really I'm looking for a flamebait icon...

  7. David Edwards
    Paris Hilton

    Not as difficult as they/you claim

    If people like Snort can make IDS that looks for threat signitures and Message Labs can nail all my Spam, then surley the eBays of this world could develop "scam signitures". If a seller is listing lots of LV handbags then they need a look as only LV can sell them, if Ms Blogs sells hers and some baby clothes and a Friends DVD then shes not going to get picked up. If Sales =>100 and product type contains "Designer" +"Handbag" and Location ="Hong Kong" then SCAM=1 ?

    Or are they too busy rolling in the money they are making from providing the platform for the scam?

    Even Paris could write that query.

  8. Tracy Riggs

    Fakes or real who cares?

    When someone buys a Louis Vuitton on eBay for 10-20 bucks they know it's fake. And they are happy with their purchase because they cannot afford an original.

    I suggest that Designers chill out! FAKES WILL BE WITH US THE REST OF OUR LIVES!

    Ebay cannot verify the authenticity of an item from a picture. Even if the picture or photo were real, they could still send out a fake in it's place.

    There is no way to authenticate anything unless someone actually examines the article.

    However, these fakes seem to serve a purpose in the marketplace.

    Most designers wouldn't sell but a few if it weren't for the fakes and or imitations in the first place. Designer Hype is created by millions of women wanting the same thing.

    I have a suggestion that would work for everyone involved...however I cannot state it on this board.

    My suggestion would improve eBay sales by 100 percent...Fakes would all but vanish in no time, lol. No more getting sued. It could all be done with minimal expense.

    Like I said I can't openly state my idea due to the fact that this is not done in an open forum.

    I read somewhere that eBay has offered employees a 35 million dollar bonus for coming up with a solution that would improve their bottom line. Too bad I don't work for eBay.

  9. Peter Ramins
    Thumb Down

    This is just ridiculous.

    I imagine the newspapers across the pond have an equivalent to our 'classifieds' section, in which people can list items for sale with a telephone number and then sell them to interested parties. If I answered an ad for an HDTV and it turned out to be a 'Sorny' or 'Magnetbox' on closer inspection after purchase, I wouldn't hold the paper liable for facilitating the sale of counterfeit goods.

    What ebay really needs is better tracking of just who is the person or entity behind the accounts. If I do buy a counterfeit something from ebay when I'm expecting the real deal, it would be nice to be able to get justice or a refund and not just be totally screwed, which is usually the case. Ebay should be working on making their service safer overall, and all of these other little problems would be a lot more accountable for it.

    If Tiffany really wants to have some inspection power, they can offer to appraise the items that buyers receive, and then pursue the sellers at their discretion.

  10. Herby

    Maybe they can go the "other way" as well.

    Prohibit the sale of $500 cat5 connection cables ( Of course there ARE suckers born every minute!!

  11. kain preacher

    @By Stef

    But Ebay is not a pub , more like a land lord at a mall.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vast Minority?

    How exactly do you have a "vast minority"?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It May Go Something Like This

    Ebay will do the absolute minimum to stop the sale of counterfeit items, so long as the fees are paid. They could, for instance refer offending sellers for prosecution. Or simply ban the sale of any item associated with Walpole. That would increase the membership. They won't do anything so effective or direct.

    The luxury goods vendors surely could arrange to win a few auctions, confirm that the items they received are not genuine, and proceed from there. Too much bother After all, only the RIAA has adequate legal talent to convince the judicial system that such potential losses amount to large sums of real money.

    Neither Ebay nor the luxury goods makers need worry. Competing sellers and miscreants will do the heavy lifting. Say I am offering an item for less than another seller. Nothing to it. My competitor notifies Ebay that my goods appear to be suspect. My auction is annulled. No questions asked. I have no recourse. My competitor's claims may be valid or groundless. Ebay is (and will be more and more) willing to have auctions ended just in case. Note further that it makes no difference if the goods offered by any party are genuine.

    Stopping the sale of counterfeit goods is not the point. The goods makers will have achieved their not so hidden aim of diminishing the size of the used market for their goods. Can't find those used. Guess you'll have to buy new, is their reasoning. If they could get away with it, their purchase agreement would forbid resale.Since that can't be made workable, they'll just make sure there is no place to sell the items used. It amounts to the same thing, but is far easier to accomplish.

    I find it hard to feel bad for Ebay or the goods sellers. The counterfeiters are the only party in the wrong, but nothing will be done about them. They really aren't the target of this effort.

  14. Snail
    Paris Hilton

    Typical ebay

    Ebay are making money off all the items, so surely its their responsibility to make sure their customers are not being ripped off?

    But no, instead, they expect everyone else (the 100's of thousands of companies with fake goods) to police the ebay website instead.

    @Dave, i've seen the local fake Nike trainer person get nabbed by the Police at the local car boot sale, so they are watched!

    Even Paris knows ebay are con artists!

  15. Anonymous Coward

    @Typical Ebay

    Yes the police nabbed the seller at the car boot, not the car boot organisers. I'm sure if the whole car boot site was nothing but fakers then the local trading standatds would close them down or refuse a licence


    the difference between a pub and a mall/market is that a pub is legally someones home. Public House describes it perfectly which is why you can be refused entry to a pub without any reason given and is an criminal offence to be on licensed premises after being asked to leave by the landlord.

  16. Vortigern


    If the luxury good manufacturers were so concerned then they'd do something like rfid tag all their items and then offer some kind of authentication device/service.

    But they don't care... each copy sold is something with their brand on that they don't even have to pay for and every time they complain about ebay it's directing traffic to ebay to buy the cheap copies to get their brand out even more = more sales of non-copies too.

  17. Lance

    eBay is not a retailer

    "Representatives of the luxury goods industry said the eBay-Tiffany ruling was a disservice to customers. "Counterfeit or fraudulent goods are rampant in the marketplace, and internet retailers must accept the responsibility to protect the consumer by guaranteeing the authenticity of the luxury goods they sell," the Luxury Institute."

    But eBay doesn't sell anything. The seller is the one posting the auction/buy it now and the buyer is buying from the seller who posted the auction. A retailer eBay is not.

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